Norfolk, Va. – The Old Dominion men’s basketball team is about to start their second season – also known as conference play – their first in Conference USA – they finished their non-conference schedule with a record of six and nine.
Some fans see this as the glass half empty – others, half full – for head coach Jeff Jones – he sees it as a lot of basketball still to be played.
“Anybody who has seen us play wouldn’t deny we have gotten better – that’s to be expected and we need to make sure this learning curve continues,” Jones says.
Is this where coach anticipated his team would be at this point of the season?
“To be honest I don’t know – I knew enough of what to expect – fans wanted to know how many wins – I don’t know, but the fact that our guys have had a positive attitude, they worked hard, they have been willing to be coached, has given us the chance to become a better basketball team, but there is still a lot of work to be done.”
“I see us like a project – like a building block – start from the bottom and work our way up, especially with the team we have – we are going to be undersized, we are going to be younger sometimes, but we’ve just got to be willing to work hard and grind every game out to get a positive result.”
In games, the team are saplings in a forest of trees – they are outsized and outmanned.
“No one will feel sorry for you – you can’t wollow in self pity – so we constantly remind each other let’s go out there and make this day a good one,” Jones says.
For Richard Ross – that’s a challenge accepted.
“It’s not frustrating as much as it is challenge accepted – it’s been that way my whole life – been smaller – play better and play big,” Ross says.
For Arron Baycote, the former Bethel Bruin knows the key to getting the “w” is to continue to commitment.
“We been sticking to it, working hard every day. We had a stretch where we didn’t finish games or got out to a bad start and couldn’t win any games, but we were close. One team has to win and one team has to lose, but it was refreshing getting the win on Saturday.”
Baycote also has the bullseye on his back – he is the number one player on opposing teams scouting report – does he feel the pressure?
“No – we all have our talents, we got to keep playing towards them and if we can play together – we can keep getting wins.”
The team opens up conference play at East Carolina on Saturday.